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Brand Leaders

Using Social Analytics to Identify Brand Leaders

Branding is an industry unto itself. More than a name, a logo, or a slogan, modern branding means creating a culture that can be as important to a company’s success as is its product/service design, price point, distribution, or even reputation.

Just think about the almost cult-like status companies as diverse as Apple, SpaceX, Ferrari, Amazon, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Disney enjoy. Their founders have been the subject of countless biographies, profiles, and even motion pictures. Meanwhile, their brand logos are affixed to everything from T-shirts to license plate holders to calendars to jigsaw puzzles to drinking glasses, merchandise often sold in their own stores – or even museums!

Clearly, a company with a strong brand can build a base of fiercely loyal customers who stay with it through good times and bad, who eagerly look forward to its next product release and, perhaps most important of all, become passionate champions and advocates for their brand-of-choice. So how do you think your brand stands in the public’s mind? And how does your culture rate against those of your competitors?

One place to look for clues is on that great 21st century battleground of ideas, opinions, and passions: social media. Twitter in particular. In the Twitter-verse, you can find all manner of discussions, debates, and outright brawls over the products, services, quality, and behavior of companies both large and small.

And we can also measure it. Social Analytics from Northern Light is a powerful online tool that uses machine learning to identify what Twitter users are talking about, who is leading the conversation, and how people feel about what’s being said. From an intuitive online dashboard, you can use Social Analytics to see what people are saying about your company and how your brand stands against your rivals.

For example, let’s take a look at Cloud Computing. We’ll look at the accounts of the three top cloud computing service providers, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Choosing the account names “Google Cloud Platform,” “Microsoft Cloud,” and “Amazon Web Services,” we find the Google Cloud Platform net 6,030,684 impressions over the last 30 days, while Microsoft Cloud netted 88,889,080 impressions and Amazon Web Services netted 34,645,000 impressions. Of the three, Microsoft Cloud was the clear winner, with Amazon netting about half that and Google Cloud running a distant third.

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But what about the sentiments most associated with each account? What words are people using in their Twitter posts regarding each brand?

For Google Cloud Platform, the two most popular sentiments, with about 6 million impressions each, are “helping” and “secure.” The following eight terms, with about 860,000 impressions each, are “support,” “too many,” “innovations,” “complex,” “easy,” “awesome,” “need to,” and “thank.” It’s a somewhat mixed bag of sentiments, although skewing towards the positive.

For Microsoft Cloud, the most popular sentiments, with close to 4 million impressions each, are “benefits” and “right,” followed in descending order by “helping,” “best,” “leading,” “like,” “empower,” “top,” “free,” and “autonomous.” Overall, these words are far stronger than those used by Google Cloud flowers, which is not surprising considering its larger fan base.

Finally, for Amazon Web Services, the most popular sentiment by far is “support,” with nearly 35 million impressions over the past 30 days. The second term, “available,” produces only 3,652,000 impressions – just 10% of the first-place finisher – followed by “well,” “greater,” “benefit,” “largest,” critical,” “high,” “free,” and “break,” all with about 1.8 million impressions. Again, the words are generally positive, but not as strong as those generated by Microsoft.

Finally, it’s interesting to track the impressions each brand generates over time. Here is how Social Analytics sees them:

Google Cloud Platform

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Microsoft Cloud

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Amazon Web Services

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Clearly, Microsoft’s Twitter following is not only far larger than the other two, but also the most consistent. This is the sign of a truly strong brand.

Would you like to see how your brand fares online against your competition? This is just one of the many insights Social Analytics can provide. To take Social Analytics for the test spin, click here for more information or contact us to start a conversation.

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